Cleland-McGrath for City Council

The last few years have been exciting in Anacortes. We’ve had new and engaged leadership; dynamic, supportive partnerships between civic, commercial and nonprofits and unprecedented giving. Giving of time, energy, granting and donations to keep Anacortes the amazing place it is.

I would like to see that continue and I know that will happen if we elect Christine Cleland-McGrath to City Council.

With her four-plus years of work on the city Planning Commission, with six-plus years on the Anacortes Arts Festival board, two years as its president, an active Rotarian, as well as the countless other committees and volunteering, Christine has already proven herself to be one of Anacortes’ active and engaged leaders. I want Christine’s experience and her enthusiasm on our Anacortes City Council.

As someone who has worked with her for many years, I would like to highlight her strengths in leadership. Christine sees projects through from the beginning to the end and through all the unforeseen curves. She asks informed questions and does her research. She’s not afraid to be disagreed with and not afraid of the hard questions. She makes things happen and always has creative solutions. She is interested in what people think and in conversations.

I urge voters in Ward 2 to vote for Christine Cleland-McGrath for City Council.

Lisa Kuhnlein


Voting for Cleland-McGrath

My name is Susan Parke, a 29-year resident of Anacortes, director emeritus, Museum of Northwest Art and long-time board member of the Anacortes Art Festival.

I support Christine Cleland-McGrath’s candidacy for the Ward 2 City Council seat.

I first met Christine when she was an intern at the Museum of Northwest Art. She was a poised, confident student who learned her intern duties quickly and enthusiastically.

Forward several years, an adult Christine returned to Anacortes and worked at the family golf course. Her name was proposed for membership on the Anacortes Arts Festival board. Initially I was skeptical. Could such a young person want to serve with a group of people old enough to be her parents or grandparents? I was wrong. She brought a breath of fresh air to the board, generating new ideas and helping bring those ideas to fruition. Her passion, enthusiasm and commitment were striking.

I’ve watched her as her life has changed. She serves on the Planning Commission, started her career in real estate and became a mother. Christine has calmly balanced all the demands on her time and energy. I’m rather in awe.

Christine would bring to the council her years of Anacortes experience, her commitment to its future and an intelligent and thoughtful approach to city government.

Susan Parke


Take a longer view on affordability

First, do no harm.

This medical counsel also applies to the issue of housing affordability in Anacortes. The upcoming council election and recently modernized development regulations have put this issue in the spotlight. But we collectively have been doing harm to affordability for a while now.

What does affordability mean? Is it just the price of a home, or does it also include the cost of living in Anacortes as opposed to another part of the county? Because if we are talking about living here, then we also have to consider the cumulative impact of tax and fee increases.

While we as voters may want a top-end school system or the latest in swimming pool luxury, we must keep in mind that these levies make living here more expensive. So does the rapid growth in the cost of city government over the past few years. There are people in Anacortes who live on the edge, and for whom those “little” increases add up to a big problem.

Aside from the tax aspect, government policies affect home prices. Zoning is one example. Restrictive zoning serves to reduce the availability of land. Site acquisition costs more, and expensive land means even more expensive houses.

Revised development rules may help, but smaller lots with smaller houses are not necessarily cheaper. We’ve seen that promise fail before.

At least one council candidate wants to mandate that lower-cost housing units be part of any significant development. This approach forces the builder to raise prices of standard units to compensate for a loss on cheaper ones.

A middle-class person perhaps can afford the home itself. But he may not be able to cover the included subsidy for the low-income units for which he himself doesn’t qualify. This would lead to further stratification, a community of rich who don’t care about costs and poor who qualify for help of one kind or another. We’ve already moved quite a bit in this direction, as people are increasingly unable to afford to live here even if they have decent jobs in town.

There are some good ideas in the new development regulations and among the council candidates. But the candidates, not to mention incumbent council members, seem not to realize that it is easy to undo the good stemming from these changed regulations or their own ideas by continuing business as usual when it comes to rubber stamping every request for tax and fee increases.

We voters have to keep affordability in mind when considering levy increases and the candidates we support for city office. Otherwise, we will do further harm to the prospect of a community encompassing all income groups even as we claim it is our goal.

Mark Lijek


Thrilled with ‘Noises Off’ production

There is often trepidation that when a new offering of a favorite theatrical production is introduced, it may not live up to or, worse, mar the memory of the original. My fears were completely allayed when I witnessed ACT’s current staging of “Noises Off,” 25 years after I was lucky enough to be in the 1994 cast. Director Carla Hurst has recreated this wonderful piece of comedic theater to perfection, aided by a spot-on cast and crew. I was delighted to the point of laughing till I cried … over and over and over again.

Annette Tamm


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